SURF CITY, NC (WECT) - The founders of Salty Turtle Beer Company knew they potentially found a successful business venture by bringing a craft brewery to Pender County.
They just didn't know how quickly the business would take off.
"That's the scary part is we didn't know if people really wanted this," Daniel Callender, the brewery's co-owner, said.
Six months in, it's safe to say the investment paid off.
"Even like our best case scenario looking at numbers ahead of time, we've blown past that," co-owner Dean Kelley said. "We're struggling to keep up right now so we're waiting on new equipment in the new space across the street and hopefully, everything stays on time and we will be able to keep all of our customers happy with all of their favorites."
Kelley said the brewmaster found they were running out of beer. To meet the demand, the brewery is expanding within Triton Village Plaza in Surf City to a building next door.
"Hopefully we won't run out of beer in the summertime," Kelley said with a smile.
Construction markers are still in the ground at the brewery's new space, yet owners are already eying new expansion that would showcase the brand across the state.
"Hopefully, after summer we are going to start packaging out beer and get our name out there to Raleigh and Charlotte," Callender said. "A lot of our customers live there and vacation out here."
The veteran-owned and operated brewery uses its platform to help local organizations that share the same values — veterans groups and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, to name a couple.
Callender's interest in craft brewing started as a hobby when he brewed five-gallon batches in a garage. It soon turned into a passion project and he created the business plan when he was deployed in East Asia.
Surf City is WECT's first stop in our Highway 6 segment. WECT will start the morning at Daddy Mac's Beach Grill. The Carolina in the Morning anchor team will broadcast from the restaurant's oceanfront deck. The owners of the popular eatery are opening early to accommodate the live broadcast along with any early risers who want to come out and meet the news team.
At noon, the WECT Midday team will be live along the ocean.
The evening newscasts will air from the largest venue — Soundside Park — just over the bridge in Surf City.